Posts Tagged ‘katedouglassmithwiggin’

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The Affair at the Inn

September 10, 2013

The Affair at the Inn is unusual in two ways: first, it’s a collaborative novel that isn’t a trainwreck. The four main characters are written by four different writers, and I didn’t finish the book with a sense that the writers hated each other, or that the plot at the end was hastily patched together from the ruins of what it was originally meant to be. Second, it’s sort of Williamsonian (alternating points of view, traveling American heiress, Scottish baronet with an automobile) but without anyone traveling incognito. Nothing else about it was unusual, but almost everything about it was very nice. Read the rest of this entry ?

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Christmas Stories: The Old Peabody Pew

December 17, 2012

I read The Old Peabody Pew last winter, but couldn’t figure out how to talk about it in time for Christmas. Also I was annoyed with it for being a Kate Douglas Smith Wiggin Christmas story about a woman in a small New England town and the man who left town and left her behind, and yet not being The Romance of a Christmas Card. So this year I read it again, trying to keep an open mind and not to skim for things actually happening. It helped to know that they never would.

And on one hand, I liked it better this time. On the other, it’s still not The Romance of a Christmas Card and, well, nothing ever happens. Read the rest of this entry ?

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Christmas Stories: The Birds’ Christmas Carol

December 9, 2010

It’s Christmas story time again! I started, as has become my tradition, with The Romance of a Christmas Card, by Kate Douglas Wiggin. It continues to be wonderful.

I thought I’d continue on with Wiggin for a bit, so the next thing I read was an earlier Christmas story of hers, The Birds’ Christmas Carol, which is a delightful combination of making fun of poor people and glorifying childhood illness. And by “delightful”, I mean “unpleasant and a little bit disturbing.” Read the rest of this entry ?

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More Christmas Stories

December 26, 2008

While I was away on vacation, I read four more Christmas stories: Little Maid Marian, by Amy Blanchard; The Christmas Child, by Hesba Stretton; Rosemary, by A.M and C.N. Williamson; and The Romance of a Christmas Card, by Kate Douglas Wiggin. And I think I have a pretty good idea now of what a Christmas Story is supposed to involve.

First, and most obviously, there is the moral. There is no point to a Christmas story without a moral. Usually the moral has to do with forgiveness.

Equally important is the happy ending, although there is a way around this: if your story is really miserable, you can get away with an ending that’s a bit of a downer.

There also seems to be a sort of age requirement. Apparently, by the beginning of the twentieth century, it was no longer acceptable to write a Christmas story about an old guy. Sorry, Scrooge. The protagonist must be either a small and adorable child, or a young man or woman of about the right age to be falling in love.

Finally, as much of the story as possible has to be set at Christmastime. But not necessarily the same Christmastime. I think of it as the fourth classical unity. This has become one of my favorite things about Christmas stories. I really like it when they skip from one Christmas to the next, and then spend half of the second one recounting what’s happened during the course of the year. Read the rest of this entry ?

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